rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » Travel: Exploring Montenegro's wild beauty

Travel: Exploring Montenegro's wild beauty

Last updated on: June 7, 2011 19:12 IST

Travel: Exploring Montenegro's wild beauty

     Next

Next

GetAhead reader Soma Biswas shares her visit to Montenegro, a beautiful Balkan country in south eastern Europe.

We went to Montenegro during the Easter holidays in April 2011.

Montenegro, probably better known as the location for the Bond movie Casino Royale, is a beautiful country in south east Europe that gained independence in 2006. Prior to June 2006 it was part of Serbia and Montenegro also known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Montenegro tourism board promotes it as the 'Land of Wild Beauty'. This is an apt title considering the long winding Adriatic Sea coast on one side and the rugged mountainous terrains of the Balkan Peninsula on the other.

Being a small and moderately developed country, it still retains its old world charm of friendly people and home-cooked food which is included in most excursions.

Want to share your travel story with us and others around the world? Simply write an email (with the subject line: 'My Travel Story') and send it to getahead@rediff.co.in! Also send us pictures of the place you're writing about. We will publish the best ones right here on rediff.com!


Image: A view of Budva city, one of the oldest settlements on the Montenegro coast.
Photographs: Soma and Debmalya Biswas
     Next

Scenic views

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The most well-connected airport is the capital Podgorica. It takes about a couple of hours by flight from most European cities, e.g. Frankfurt.

For tourists of course, the preferred destination is the small maritime city of Budva with its many beaches and a vibrant nightlife. The easiest way to reach Budva from Podgorica is to take a taxi which costs around 50 euros and takes a little over an hour.

There are buses as well and cost much less (around 6 euros), however they are not so frequent and it is difficult to get information on the schedule on the website.

The road from Podgorica to Budva is very scenic with lovely sightseeing spots such as Sveti Stefan and Skadar Lake on the way.


Image: Skadar Lake

Prev     Next

Vibrant nightlife

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Hotels are a plenty in Budva but it gets crowded during peak season (May-September), so booking early is recommended. Hotel rates are between 50 to 200 euros per night.

We stayed at Avala Resorts priced at 150 euros per night including breakfast and dinner.

The day in this coastal town can be spent exploring the old city or relaxing on one of the many beaches.

At night, however, it gets transformed into a beautiful beach-side resort town with people relaxing in the many outdoor restaurants, cafes and bars, or simply walking along the beach holding hands.


Image: Budva at night

Prev     Next

A villa on an island

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

If you ever wanted to stay in a villa on an island, Sveti Stefan is the place to be. Close to Budva, it is a fortress transformed into 20 or so fully furnished modern villas on the island.

While the price at over $1000 for a night may deter the average tourist from staying there, it is still a sight to behold and worth a visit.


Image: Sveti Stefan is one of the most attractive destinations in Montenegro.

Prev     Next

Tara river bridge

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

While Budva is in the southern part of Montenegro, we set out to explore the northern part on the second day.

The northern part is not as developed as the south, which becomes evident from the state of the roads. Also as you head northwards fewer people speak or understand the English language.

We booked a car for the day-long tour which cost us around 250 euros, including a tourist guide.

The Tara river canyon or gorge is Montenegro's longest canyon and at 1300 m it is the deepest in Europe.

The road from Budva to Tara river canyon takes you through beautiful mountainous terrains with small chapels and waterfalls on the way.


Image: The Djurdjevica Tara Bridge on Tara River, Montenegro.

Prev     Next

Rafting down the Tara river

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Popular activities here include a three-hour rafting tour over an 18 km route from Brstanovica to Sćepan Polje.

For the more adventurous, there is also a bungee jumping spot 150 m above the river into the Tara gorge. It is the 7th highest point in the world, and the most scenic according to our tourist guide.

On the way, we had lunch in the ski resort town of Kolasin at a very lovely Russian restaurant recommended by our tour guide. Skiing of course is only possible during the winter months just as rafting is during the summer months.


Image: Tara river, Montenegro

Prev     Next

A boat cruise on Skadar Lake

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Day 3 started with a cruise on Skadar Lake, the largest lake in Balkan Peninsula, two-thirds of which is in Montenegro and the rest in Albania.

Due to its bio-diversity, a large part of the lake has been converted into a National Park. The park is also famous as a bird reserve, with the mot famous bird citizen here being pelicans.

A boat cruise on the lake costs around 40 euros and takes around an hour. It includes delicious home cooked snacks provided by the boatmen.


Image: Skadar Lake is the largest lake in Balkan Peninsula.

Prev     Next

The ancient walls

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The final stop in our itinerary was the coastal city of Kotor which is an hour's drive from Budva. A bus ride costs 3 euros and by taxi it is around 20 euros.

Kotor is a UNESCO protected site and is known as Europe's southernmost fjord. The main attraction of the city, however, is its old fortress with its narrow roads, with cafes, chapels and small shops selling all kinds of souvenirs and local handicrafts.


Image: The ancient walls of Kotor.

Prev     Next

Information you can use

Prev     More
Prev

More

Ideal trip duration: Montenegro is a small country and three to four days is enough to explore most of it. However, there are longer and more adventurous tours available as well. For train lovers, there is a train that travels over mountainous terrains to Albania, and the spectacular views are well worth the ride, despite the lack of high speed.

Food: While those looking for Indian vegetarian food may have a problem, food in Montenegro is not a problem and a wide variety of Mediterranean and Continental as well as some Chinese and Thai cuisine is available. Seafood is a common dish in the traditional Montenegrin cuisine.

Tourist friendly: Tourism here is still developing, though on a priority basis. However it is still difficult to find travel-related information like booking tours, excursions etc on the Internet. The tourist agency we relied on during our trip and one we can definitely recommend is Jamb Travels http://www.jamb-travel.com.

And finally: Casino Royale was not filmed in Montenegro, but in the Czech Republic. :-)

Want to share your travel story with us and others around the world? Simply write an email (with the subject line: 'My Travel Story') and send it to getahead@rediff.co.in! Also send us pictures of the place you're writing about. We will publish the best ones right here on rediff.com!


Image: The Bay of Kotor

Prev     More